Apple and Samsung lead the charge, with Android now accounting for 32 percent of the entire PC market.
Research firm Canalys predicts that tablets will account for 50 percent of the PC market in 2014. It believes tablets will almost out ship all other PC form-factors combined, including desktops and laptops. The firm said shipments will reach 285 million units in 2014, growing to 396 million in 2017. In the third quarter of 2013 tablets made up 40 percent of PC shipments, only half a million units behind laptops.

Despite the decline of PC- and laptop shipments, the worldwide PC market grew 18 percent during the quarter – thanks to tablets. Canalys predicts that Android will be the main driver of growth in tablets,accounting for 65 percent of the market.


Samsung Tablets are taking the lead

Accounting for 65 percent of the market. Samsung will likely be leading the pack, while Apple will continue to be the main competitor outside the Android race. “Apple’s decline in PC market share is unavoidable considering its business model. Samsung narrowly took the lead in EMEA this quarter, and Apple will lose its position to competitors in more markets in the future,” said senior analyst Tim Coulling. “However, Apple is one of the few companies making money from the tablet boom.

Premium products attract high-value consumers; for Apple, remaining highly profitable and driving revenue from its entire ecosystem is of greater importance than market share statistics,” said Coulling.

Low budgets Tablets are arising

But while Samsung and Apple will remain strong in the medium-term, there could be ‘challenges’ as competition hots up, said Canalys. The firm points to the rise of small-to-micro brand vendors in established and high-growth markets, plus international players such as Acer, Asus, Lenovo and HP.

Budget tablets are tempting many consumers and manufacturers with even supermarkets and retailers such as Tesco and Argos offering own-brand devices. “With the cost and time-to-market advantages afforded by their Chinese supply chain, these vendors are eating up market share,” noted analyst James Wang. Microsoft is forecast to take 5 percent of the tablet market in 2014, up from 2 percent in 2012 with its Surface devices.